Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ammesty?


Going to bed with the beginnings of a headache is bad. Even worse is waking up at 4:30 in the morning with a fully formed one. In this particular variety, there’s a spot behind my left eye that pulses with dull pain in perfect rhythm with my heart beat. The remedy for this condition is three Advil, a cup of strong coffee, and hope.

Reading the news from overnight in such a condition is almost always unpleasant. Bearing witness to the daily absurdities of 21st century life with a blinding headache takes away your ability to laugh, for one thing, which has always been my best defense against despair. So this morning I must face news about the President’s post-election plans to grant amnesty to 12 million illegal immigrants without a laugh track…no easy task. In this effort he has the full support of the Chamber of Commerce, an unlikely ally, along with many pro-business Republicans. It is an issue that perplexes me. Part of me thinks that since we have neither the ability nor the desire to round up 12 million illegals, we might as well grant them amnesty so we can start taxing them. But there’s another side of me that thinks that when a Democratic President and the Chamber of Commerce agree on something, it smells like an unholy alliance up to no good.

The Chamber likes amnesty because it likes business, and what’s better for business than a never ending supply of cheap labor? A Democratic President likes amnesty because with a stroke of a pen he can create 12 million new democrats. I suppose we should all be grateful that he has shown enough restraint to wait until after the midterms. No need to get greedy I suppose.

Lest any of you think that I am anti-immigrant, I would like to point out that no American can be anti-immigrant with anything approaching a clear conscience. All of us were immigrants at some point. My ancestors came over from Germany and Ireland or wherever a couple hundred years ago. As an American, I am proud to belong to such a country, a place where people have been plotting and scheming to get to for generations. I am especially proud at dinner time on the weekends when I am presented with restaurant choices from every corner of the globe.  

But something has changed in our country over the years. I don’t get the sense anymore that those who come to America have any desire to become Americans. We are hyphenating ourselves into enclaves where ethnicity trumps citizenship. America has become a nation that has lost its knack for assimilation. Instead of demanding more and more civic virtue from us, instead of expecting more and more responsibility from us, our government seems hell-bent on making it easier and easier to become one of us.  
With or without a headache, this isn’t good news.